Rahul Sachitanand
Jul 16, 2020

Financial-services churn: APAC bank and insurance brands see significant shifts

ASIA's TOP 1000 BRANDS: Standard Chartered clambers back into the top 10 banks after a 2019 freefall, while in insurance, Allianz tumbles from fifth place in 2019 to 63rd this year.

Financial-services churn: APAC bank and insurance brands see significant shifts


Credit-card brands top the overall list of top financial-services brands in APAC, based on our 2020 Asia's Top 1000 Brands research, followed by Paypal and Citibank, which comes in above HSBC thanks to its stronger position in the credit-card sub-category. 

Asia's top 10 financial-services brands overall

  1. VISA
  2. MasterCard
  3. PayPal
  4. Citibank
  5. HSBC
  6. Prudential (UK)
  7. AIA
  8. AXA
  9. Samsung
  10. Alipay

However, HSBC further cemented its place as the top banking brand in Asia this year. It did so despite topping the banking sub-category only in Hong Kong. Its position actually slipped in other important markets, such as Vietnam, where it dropped from second place last year to third, supplanted by the local Asia Commercial Bank.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered recovered following a bad stumble in 2019, retaking a place in the top 10 among banking brands.

Asia's top 10 banking brands

  1. HSBC
  2. Citibank
  3. Maybank
  4. Shinhan bank
  5. ANZ
  6. Kookmin Bank (KB)
  7. CIMB Bank
  8. Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)
  9. Bank Central Asia (BCA)
  10. Bank of China

In the wider context of the Asia-wide, all-brand rankings, Standard Chartered gained ground while its rivals slipped. Although Standard-Chartered came in well below its rival banks, it did gain 40 places in the pecking order, rising from 371st to 331st. HSBC fell from 144th to 158th, and Citibank fell from 124th to 139th. 

HSBC has built on the world's largest out-of-home campaign, launched in 2018, with recent new marketing initiatives including a new platform in Malaysia focused on financial literacy and another in Australia that saw strong traction. Meanwhile, Standard Chartered in June 2019 launched its purpose-driven campaign railing against illegal wildlife trade. 

Citibank saw its brand position in banking fall in markets such as New Zealand and The Philippines. Despite the challenges of dominating region-wide for top banks, its not like local brands shone widely. For example, Bank of China dropped five places in the top 10, from fifth to 10th place. Elsewhere, Singapore-based lender POSB also struggled for a foothold, sliding from 7th in 2019 to 17th this year. 

Insurance snakes and ladders  

Changes were the order of the day in the insurance segment, German brand Allianz experienced freefall in 2020, tumbling from fifth to 63rd and ending up ranked below its joint-venture business in India. A $100 million campaign it launched worldwide with Grey in November 2019 perhaps came too late to undo some of this damage.  

The tussle for the top spot saw Prudential UK upend last year's top brand, AIA. Prudential is the most recognised insurer in Indonesia and Vietnam, even as NTUC Income returned to the top 10 by lifting its performance in China and India. For Prudential, several campaigns it ran in 2019 in Asia, including one focused on positive action and optimism and another featuring Hong Kong actress Mandy Lam's fight with breast cancer, seemed to help it top the charts. 

Asia's top 10 insurance brands

  1. Prudential (UK)
  2. AIA
  3. AXA
  4. Manulife
  5. Samsung
  6. Great Eastern
  7. Cathay Life
  8. Sunlife
  9. NTUC Income
  10. Thai Life Insurance

Payments pecking order 

Meanwhile, in the credit-card category, Visa and Mastercard stretched their lead over the others in the segment, but there were some unexpected blips in the 2020 listing. While Visa has reached first place in almost all countries, it hasn't been able to budge in China, while Mastercard has struggled against local players in markets such as South Korea, where it finds itself in sixth place.

However, 2019 was a busy time for these brands. In Visa's case there was a contactless card initiative, co-branding initiatives such as Wonderful Indonesia and sponsorships of everything from esports to music festivals.  

Despite its sharp ascent in the banking rankings, Standard Chartered hasn't translated those gains in the cards market, losing a place. 

Asia's top 10 credit-card brands

  1. VISA
  2. MasterCard
  3. Citibank
  4. American Express
  5. HSBC
  6. Samsung
  7. Standard Chartered Bank (SCB)
  8. Bank of China
  9. JCB
  10. ANZ

In the e-payments space, the top five were unchanged, but a couple of Indian brands moved up and down the ranking. While its sponsorship of the Indian cricket team had helped propel Paytm into the top 10 in this category, in 2019, it lost some steam in 2020, falling out of this top ranking. However, arch rival Phone Pe moved up a couple of places. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay traded places in the top 10, in 2020, even as G Cash moved up from eighth to 10th this year. 

Seen broadly, Visa and Mastercard continued to dominate, but since 2017, when all new and legacy players' rankings can be compared, it is Chinese brands rising. For example, looking at the Asia-wide ranking of all brands regardless of category, WeChat's ranking has gone up from 456th in 2017 to 117th this year (although it must be noted that WeChat is much more than a payments app) and Alipay has risen from 322nd to 257th. 

Asia's top 10 e-payments brands

  1. PayPal
  2. Visa
  3. MasterCard
  4. Alipay
  5. Wechat
  6. ApplePay
  7. Samsung Pay
  8. Gcash
  9. Amazon Payments
  10. True Money

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